The Origins of Fango
The term Fango originates from Italy and translates as “mud”, “soil” or “healing mud”. It refers to mineral rich healing mud of volcanic origin that is regarded as one of the most important healing treatments due to its wide range of applications. Fango is used particularly in therapy for the locomotor system and for muscle relaxation. Through an application of hot Fango, circulation is simulated, the muscles become relaxed and joints are protected from premature aging and damage. The first usage of Fango for therapeutic purposes came a few centuries before the Common Era. Historical sources show that Roman legionaries benefited from its healing effects.
Organic Fango is known as Italian mud and consists of three components: one solid (a type of clay), one liquid (thermal water) and one biological (algae or microorganisms). The mud is left to mature in special tubs for 60 days. During this time the mud-filled tubs are topped up with fresh thermal water. The temperature and chemical composition of the water has a significant effect on the enrichment of the microbes that are so important for the effects of Fango. This gives the herbal material anti-inflammatory effects. When the Fango has been enriched for optimal healing effects, the mud is collected from the tubs by specially trained people know as “Fanghini” using buckets. Used Fango is placed back in the ripe pools to be enriched again. The preparation of Fango is a very elaborate, and therefore time and cost intensive process.
Organic Fango is primarily used in Italy, particularly in the spa resorts Abano Terme, Montegrotto Terme and Galzignano Terme, all located in in the most famous Fango region of Italy, the Euganean hills. This range of hills is rich in a special type of thermal water, the source of which lies in the Alps. From here, the water flows underground through the various rock layers until it reaches the plane of the Euganean basin where the surface temperatures at the artesian aquifer are between 80 - 85°C. The thermal water contains salt, iron and bromine. The Fango mud is taken directly from the Euganean basin and consists of a light blue natural clay, a silicate aluminum.
The high quality and purity of the Fango was tested at the University of Padua, by the Osservatorio Termale Permanente (O. T. P.). Due to its unique effects, Fango has been registered at the UK at the European Patent Office.
Abano Terme is the most significant spa resort for Fango therapy in Europe and is located directly in the Euganean hills. Montegrotto Terme can be found directly at the Euganean hills’ hot source and has been known for 3000 years as the ideal spa resort for thermal baths and Fango packs. Montegrotto is one of the leading thermal centres in Italy today.
Inorganic Fango, which is used primarily in the rest of Europe, is differentiated by the production process. In contrast with organic Fango, the healing clay is not ripened. The effectiveness of this type of Fango can be attributed to the particular minerals it contains and its thermo-physical characteristics. Inorganic Fango cannot be recycled after use and is disposed of. The solid components of inorganic Fango are extracted from volcanic rock which is then mechanically crushed into a fine powder and then mixed with mineral or thermal water and warmed into healing mud, to be used for therapeutic purposes. In most regions, the material is enriched with radon, brine or sulphur.